From Wolverine to Panther


“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”—Fred Rogers

In July 2018, after eight years with us, Katy Wallander transitioned into the next phase of her life and career. Now closer to family in Pittsburgh, PA, Katy accepted a position as the manager of constituent relations for the University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

When Katy first joined our Development Community as a D-SIP intern in 2009, she wrote the following in one of her reflections:

“To be generic in fundraising, is to be forgotten.”

Throughout her tenure in the Office of University Development (and Michigan Medicine), Katy’s passion for U-M, commitment to our fundraising mission, and desire to impact social change made her anything but generic. She facilitated the careers of over 200 undergraduates, initiated transformational programs that have encouraged Michigan students to give (Hail Yeah!, student fundraising on Giving Blueday, the annual student fundraising conference), fundraised to make D-SIP a permanent fixture in our community, and served on numerous internal committees to improve our workplace. The impact of her work at Michigan will be long lasting.

Thank you, Katy, for choosing U-M as a place to start your career. We miss you!

Meet D-SIP’s New Program Director!



As we say farewell to Katy, we welcome a new D-SIP program director. Sarah Salomon is the director of recruitment and human resources in the Office of University Development (OUD). This summer will be her first overseeing the D-SIP. We chatted with Sarah to learn a bit more about her.

Describe your role and history at U-M. What was your journey to becoming  D-SIP’s program director?

In addition to serving as the program director for D-SIP, I’m also director of recruitment & human resources in OUD. I started on the Talent Management team seven years ago after transitioning into higher education from corporate retail at Borders Bookstores. Over the past seven years, I’ve had an opportunity to touch a lot of different aspects of talent management, including recruitment, employee relations, careers marketing, developing a mentoring program for development staff, building an employee recognition program for the development community (Victors Valiant Awards), spearheading talent analytics efforts, among others. Since I started in OUD, I’ve always had a role in helping to support D-SIP, and when the opportunity came up to get even more involved and serve as program director, I jumped at it!

What has been your past involvement with D-SIP? Why did you want to work with the program?

I’ve been involved in D-SIP in some form or another for the past seven years. Every year, I help to read and review applications as well as conduct first-round interviews. I’ve also been a part of the program’s “Mock Interview” day. One of my favorite aspects of my past involvement is the ability to get to know many of the interns/alumni that are interested in exploring career opportunities with the U-M Development Community so that I can keep them in mind for positions when they become available. D-SIP attracts some of the best student talent on campus, and the summer experience is a great training ground for developing a future career in philanthropy.

What is your role with D-SIP? How will you interact with the interns?

As program director, it’s up to me to make sure the program runs smoothly and that we curate an outstanding learning experience for the interns. I’ll be carving out time each week in the Friday class to check in and share helpful information. I can also be a resource to the interns as they navigate the program and their relationships with their peers, colleagues, and supervisors.

What aspects of your new role with D-SIP are you most excited about?

Meeting all of the interns and alumni, of course! They’re who really make this program what it is. It’s incredibly rewarding to see everything the interns accomplish in just one summer, and having an opportunity to build even stronger relationships with them and support them in a more direct way this year is what I’m looking forward to the most!  

If you were a D-SIP intern, what site would you want to work at, and why?

I really couldn’t narrow it down to just one. There are so many great places and missions out there to support. I have a strong personal passion for children’s medicine so the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital definitely stands out. I also love the arts and being surrounded by creativity so UMMA, the University Musical Society, the Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance also come to mind.

What did you study in college?

Apparel Merchandising and Product Development with a Marketing minor. I had a great time in college and learned so much! At the end of the day, though, my career took me in a different direction. No regrets!

What’s your favorite color?

That’s easy—whatever the color is for the team my son is playing on! I’m a mom and a die-hard parent fan as well as the wife of a coach. Baseball is the sport my kids love the most. Lately, my son has been playing for Dexter baseball teams, so I have a full wardrobe of maroon, gold, and black!

What Harry Potter house are you and why?

Gryffindor. It’s really the only option, right!?

What’s your favorite Ann Arbor spot?

Isalita! I love Latin food, and they’re the best!

As a talent management professional, what advice do you have for D-SIP alums who are looking for jobs for the first time, or are looking to make a career transition?

One of the things that impresses me most when I meet with a candidate is that they’ve done their homework. If they’re truly interested in this field, they’ve taken the time to reach out and build relationships. Networking to learn—not to secure their next job—is what stands out to me. Get curious. Build some relationships. Learn what the rewards and the challenges may be for the roles you’re interested in.


Please join us in welcoming Sarah to the D-SIP family and connect with her on Linkedin.

291 Lives Imprinted

When Jerry May started as vice president for development at Michigan, he knew the profession needed an innovative approach to recruitment and career development. He remembers his frustration at not being able to provide an internship opportunity for a recent graduate in the early 2000s, “Ryan Robinson [a major gift officer in San Francisco] had a fair amount to do with the founding of D-SIP. Ryan was president of student government at Ohio State. He came to Michigan about the same time I was hiring Chrissi Rawak. Here’s this guy who is dynamic as all get out, head of student government, and came to me one day, stood in my office and said ‘Jerry, I’ve got one more semester and I wonder if I could do internship in your office.’ And in some ways that was the turning point for me to want an internship program.”

When he hired Chrissi Rawak (now the current University of Delaware Athletic Director) to create one of the first higher education fundraising talent management programs in the country, they both envisioned a strong pipeline of diverse talent into the profession. However, neither imagined the tremendous impact D-SIP would have on the field. Since its founding in 2007, 291 Michigan undergraduates have joined the D-SIP family, with a third joining the fundraising profession and close to twenty now working for U-M development. The program garnered multiple national awards (Crain’s Detroit Nonprofit Employer of the Year; CASE Circle of Excellence Grand Gold Award) and has been replicated at over ten institutions.

Wesley Ellison Stewart, senior associate athletic director and fundraiser at Boston College, had this to say about her experiences in the inaugural D-SIP class of 2007: “I loved my experience as a student-athlete at Michigan, so much that I wanted an avenue to provide positive experiences for future generations of student-athletes, but at the time I did not know how I could create a career based on my passion for collegiate athletics. That is, until I participated in D-SIP the summer before my senior year, where I uncovered a career path in development. It completely transformed my career trajectory! I discovered that I could be part of leading initiatives to secure financial resources for our student-athletes to succeed. Fundraising also allowed me to continue to be in a team environment with clear goals that we work together to achieve for a higher purpose, in similar way as I worked together with my teammates at Michigan.”

Thank you, Jerry, for your vision, service, and commitment to developing fundraisers.

Climb, Forrest, Climb

D-SIP 2012 alumni Nicole Ver Kuilen lost her leg to bone cancer when she was just ten years old. When she learned that many amputees in America struggle to obtain prosthetics, she decided to be a voice for change. In 2017, Nicole quit her job completed a 1,500 mile triathlon down the West Coast — called Forrest Stump —  from Seattle to San Diego. What started as a race for awareness turned into a national movement. Snowday Studio, a company founded by Michigan alumni, filmed a documentary called 1500 Miles about Nicole’s triathlon. Nicole then traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress, shared her message with hundreds, and is now in the process of turning Forrest Stump into a 501c3 nonprofit advocacy organization.

Not surprisingly, her work has inspired many. On Labor Day Weekend, D-SIP alumni Sam Lemmen (D-SIP ‘15), Melissa Burns (D-SIP ‘12), and Kyle Nowels D-SIP ‘11) participated in/donated to the Mackinac Bridge Walk for Forrest Stump. Kyle shared, “I am grateful for the power of D-SIP and the impact it has had on my life. This was exemplified this past Labor Day, when my family and some friends participated in the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk to raise awareness for Forrest Stump. Not (only was I able to support Nicole as a fellow D-SIP alum, but we were able to involve other D-SIP years like Melissa and Sam in making a difference in the world through both fundraising and taking action towards an injustice.”

Shortly after Labor Day, Nicole jetted off to Ecuador with fifteen elite amputee climbers and the Range of Motion Project to scale to the summit of Cotopaxi, a 19,000+ foot volcano. They chose the date September 28th for their climb as this date marks the 28th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act. She had this message to share with Forrest Stump advocates, volunteers, and donors, “By taking our message to the international level, we hope to show that mobility is a fundamental right to all human beings and to call on the U.S. to be a leader in policy change and health care reform that impacts amputee Americans and the entire disability community.”

Cohort 12

To describe D-SIP as simply a summer internship would minimize the true scope of the experiences, resources, and relationships that we developed in just a few short months. During our 2018 D-SIP summer in Ann Arbor, we participated in mission-driven work, shouldered real responsibility and found a sense of purpose in the work environments we inhabited at the University of Michigan and in the Ann Arbor community. Beyond the professional experience we gained in our offices, D-SIP program leaders invested in our personal development throughout the summer. In Friday classes, we heard from fundraising professionals and U-M donors while also participating in leadership activities that helped us dig deep to discover our best selves.

We shared experiences after work, from dinners at our favorite local spots, to bonfires celebrating cohort member’s birthday, to tubing down the Huron river, to meeting after work to talk about our days at Charley’s (very happy hours). We bonded with our nonprofit 9-0 teams during a tireless weekend of consulting work, and cheered each other on when the time came to present. We reflected on our new friendships and experiences at the Petoskey retreat up north, a weekend of fun beach days and emotional late night talks.  

In the end, we became well-versed in the values of development, specifically within the U-M community, while simultaneously creating our own tight knit community within the cohort. We contributed perspectives from varying ages and majors; and gained awareness of how identity and diversity play a role in our workplaces and lives. As we look towards our future, we feel confident in our ability to articulate to future employers the value we can bring both to an organization and the world at large. Here’s to Cohort 12!

Kayla Ladis, Michael Orrange and Zion Jackson D-SIP ‘18

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D-SIP 2017 Summer Highlights


D-SIP 2017 Teambuilding Challenge

If you had 2 hours and 20 dollars, how would you do the most good? Split into 5 groups, this year’s cohort demonstrated a variety of ways to have positive impact.They provided art supplies to a school and college organization, purchased flowers and snacks to give out to Wolverine Tower staff, and two groups combined to buy flowers and serenade individuals at a nursing home during a Mother’s Day celebration.  

The Nonprofit 9-0


Every summer, D-SIP interns partner with a community nonprofit to address a fundraising challenge the nonprofit is facing. This summer, D-SIP partnered with two nonprofits–the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Washtenaw Literacy–and focused on developing recommendations to turn their non-donor constituencies into donors.



Summer Party

Similar to other D-SIP summers, the cohort of 2017 attended the development-wide summer party and practiced networking with staff. They also had some very cute caricatures drawn, so we had to share!



Interns went to Petoskey, Michigan again this summer to reflect on all of their learnings, meet philanthropists, and visit Camp Michigania. Interns prom-posed for us while we stopped to fill up all of the vans.


A Summer of Song

As you might have seen from above, we learned that D-SIP 2017 possessed a lot of musical talent during the teambuilding challenge. Watch this video to see more of D-SIP 2017 and the D-SIP retreat, and to hear one of our summer interns, Tommy Kim, sing. 


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Congratulations and good luck to D-SIP 2017!



D-SIP 2017 Alumni Awards

At this past summer’s Closing Ceremony, two alumni were recognized with annual awards: the Chrissi Rawak Award for Distinction in Development and the Block M of Honor for Community Impact.


The first award is named after one of the visionaries behind the creation of D-SIP, Chrissi Rawak, who is now the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services at the University of Delaware. It was awarded to Muhi Khwaja (D-SIP ‘09) this year in recognition of him being a visionary of his own. Muhi collaborated with others to develop the The American Muslim Fund, a community foundation that seeks to provide sustainable funding and resources for nonprofits. He works directly with families and their Donor Advised Funds to support the charities of their choice so that they can successfully fulfill their missions today and continue to do so into the future. The American Muslim Fund launched its first campaign during Ramadan this year and exceeded its goal by raising over $60,000.  


The second award, the Block M for Community Impact, recognizes an alum who has made philanthropic contributions to their community through gifts of time, treasure, and talent. This year’s Block M for Community Impact went to Avery Gleason (D-SIP ‘14). Avery has a passion for the Ozone House and a passion for encouraging other millennials to get involved in addressing homelessness in his community. He created the Ozone House millennial board, which specifically focuses on raising awareness around college homelessness. The board established the Marshmallow Challenge campaign and raised over $8,000 for the cause.

When Muhi and Avery aren’t utilizing their fundraising skills to enhance their communities, they are using them in their day jobs. Muhi currently works as a major gift officer for the American Red Cross, and Avery is a business intelligence analyst for the Office of University Development.

D-SIP alumni never cease to inspire us with the amazing philanthropic work they are involved in. Congratulations to Muhi and Avery!

Want to nominate a D-SIP alum for next year’s awards? Please fill out this form. D-SIP alumni are more than welcome to nominate themselves too!